Languages

The primary objective of the language faculty is to provide our students with the ability to speak, understand, read, and write a language other than their own. In so doing, we seek to prepare them for cross-cultural experiences that will broaden their horizons and enrich their lives. To this end we address all four skills in our teaching. The target language is the spoken language of each Spanish, French, Chinese, and Japanese classroom. Reading and writing skills are developed alongside oral and aural skills in even the earliest levels. Students are routinely encouraged to pursue summer programs abroad to improve their language skills. We have instituted, as well, student exchanges during the academic year. Our classics program continues to grow, as students and their parents rediscover the value of studying Latin in high school. Our Latin classes strive to instill in students the foundations of Latin grammar, the ability to read, analyze, and appreciate Latin prose and poetry, an understanding of many aspects of Ancient Roman culture, and the power to explore the connections between the Latin language and our own.

Our classics program continues to grow as students and their parents rediscover the value of studying Latin in high school. Our Latin classes strive to instill in students the foundations of Latin grammar, the ability to read, analyze, and appreciate Latin prose and poetry, an understanding of many aspects of Ancient Roman culture, and the power to explore the connections between the Latin language and our own. Our biannual Latin trip to Italy is a favorite among the students.

Students who complete beginning French, Spanish, Latin, Chinese, or Japanese in Middle School may move into the second or third year in ninth grade. Although students are required to take language only through level three (with a minimum of two years in the Upper School), many continue their study into the fourth and fifth year. Students may also satisfy the requirement with two years in each of two languages.


Solar Smoothies

The interdisciplinary class Innovation & Design for Global Issues in Latin America demonstrates how solar energy can be used to power household appliances. Co-taught entirely in Spanish by teachers in the language and art departments, the class studies design engineering problems facing Latin American countries.


Meet Dr. Cole Harrop

Dr. Harrop teaches Latin and French, including French V, which concentrates on philosophical texts.


Ancient Greek (yearlong)

Ancient Greek

Students in this yearlong course will learn all of Ancient Greek grammar in one year. By the end of this course you will be able to translate any passage of Ancient Greek with the help of a dictionary, including texts by Plato and other ancient authors utilized throughout the RCS curriculum. The structure and style of the course will be similar to that of Latin courses. Students who have completed Latin II or higher may enroll directly; other interested students will need to consult with the teacher and request departmental approval. This course can only be taken as a student's second language course (or after completion of the language requirement).

Chinese I

Chinese I 

Chinese I provides students with a rudimentary knowledge of the Chinese Romanization system (pinyin), pronunciation, tones, vocabulary, sentence structures, and character-writing of Mandarin Chinese. The textbook, Integrated Chinese, and supplementary materials are used to develop the four communication skills – listening, speaking, writing, and reading. By the end of the course, students are expected to engage in basic conversations on specific topics, be able to identify approximately 350 simplified characters and actively use approximately 170 of them. In addition, various topics related to Chinese culture will be introduced. Evaluation is based on class participation, homework, quizzes, tests, a cultural presentation, and an oral presentation.

Chinese II

Chinese II 

Chinese II builds upon the fundamental skills introduced in Chinese I and continues to focus on deepening, strengthening, and refining the four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This course introduces students to frequently-used grammatical structures, and gives students an active vocabulary of approximately 600 characters, depending on students’ language proficiency. The textbook, Integrated Chinese, and supplementary materials are used to develop the students’ overall language skills. Authentic materials taken from various sources are also incorporated in each lesson. Evaluation is based on class participation, homework, quizzes, tests, and other performances.

Chinese III

Chinese Ill

Chinese III builds upon the fundamental skills introduced in Chinese I and II, and continues to focus on deepening, strengthening, and refining the four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This course introduces students to frequently used grammatical structures, and provides students with an active vocabulary of up to 900 characters. The textbook, Integrated Chinese, its accompanying workbook, and other authentic reading, listening, and multi-media materials from various sources are used to develop the students’ interpersonal, presentational, and interpretive language skills. In addition, this course frequently incorporates aspects of Chinese geography, literature, culture, history, and issues about contemporary China in its curriculum. Evaluation for this course is a comprehensive process, as all aspects of participation will be taken into account, which include homework, quizzes, tests, projects, class participation, attitude, and other performances.

Chinese IV

Chinese IV

Chinese IV integrates a diversity of materials and interactive activities for students to practice their interpersonal, presentational, and interpretive language skills. Building upon the fundamental skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing introduced in Chinese I, II and III, Chinese IV strengthens students’ understanding and usage of frequently used grammatical structures, introduces students to more formal expressions, and systematically provides students with an active, up-to-date vocabulary of up to 1300 characters. Covering such topics as health, the environment, gender equality, China in the Western perspective, and so on, this course integrates aspects of the Chinese geography, literature, history, culture and contemporary issues in its versatile approach to language studies. The textbook Integrated Chinese, its accompanying workbook, and other authentic reading, listening, and multi-media materials are used. Evaluation for this course is a comprehensive process, as all aspects of participation will be taken into account, which include homework, quizzes, tests, projects, class participation, attitude, and other performances.

Chinese V (Honors)

Chinese V (Honors)

Chinese V (Honors) integrates a variety of materials and interactive activities for students to expand their vocabulary and upgrade their overall interpersonal, presentational, and interpretive language skills. Building upon the preparatory knowledge and skills introduced in Chinese IV, Chinese V (H) continues to focus on deepening, strengthening, and refining the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. This course includes intermediate- to advanced-level communicative tasks related to political, economical, cultural, environmental and ethical topics. By the end of Chinese V (H), students will be exposed to a wide range of formal and idiomatic expressions, as well as an active, up-to-date vocabulary of up to 2200 characters. In addition, Chinese culture will continue to be incorporated throughout the course. Evaluation is based on class participation, homework, quizzes, oral and written tests, projects, presentations, and other formative and summative assessments.

Chinese VI (Honors)

Chinese VI (Honors)

Chinese VI (Honors) continues to build students' vocabulary and upgrade their overall interpersonal, presentational, and interpretive language skills at the high-intermediate level. This course continues to examine and discuss social and cultural phenomena and practices in China through topics like managing finances, interviewing for a job, living as foreigners, dealing with accidents, etc. By the end of this course, students can command up to 2,000 frequently used words, in addition to a wide range of formal and idiomatic expressions. The course also aims to deepen students' understanding of modern China and Chinese America through films, interviews, current events and field trips. Evaluation is based on class participation, homework, quizzes, oral and written tests, projects, presentations, cultural reflections, and other formative and summative assessments.

French I

French I

This course covers basic material equivalent to that completed in grades 7 and 8 combined. By the end of the year, skills in listening, speaking, vocabulary, grammar, and reading are sufficiently developed to enable students to enter second-level courses. Grades are determined by several different evaluation methods such as full-period written tests with oral components, daily homework assignments, and oral proficiency in the target language.

French II

French Il

This course is for students who have had French in grades 7 and 8 or French I. Students review grammar extensively so that they become familiar and at ease with proper usage of all parts of speech. Increasing emphasis is placed on the use of idiomatic expressions, and varied kinds of oral work are required in all classes. Supplementary readings are selected by the teacher in accordance with the ability of the class and include the use of a year-long reader. Grades are determined by evaluation methods such as three full-period written tests per quarter, daily homework assignments, active class participation, oral and written projects, and reading comprehension.

French III

French Ill

This course entails the acquisition of large amounts of new vocabulary, reviews basic grammar, and introduces more advanced grammatical structures. Students discuss French literary texts in class and analyze them in compositions. They gain greater fluency in oral and written French. Books vary from year to year and from section to section but have included "Les Aventures du Petit Nicolas" and selections from Saint-Exupéry’s "Le Petit Prince." About 30 to 45 minutes of homework is assigned after every class. Students should expect one or two major tests per quarter, plus several quizzes and projects..

French III (Honors)

French III (Honors)

Prerequisite: Departmental approval

A rigorous class designed for able French students with a desire to begin the serious study of language and literature and whose nomination to the track is supported by the department. The course incorporates all aspects of the regular French III curriculum, along with reading selections chosen to prepare students for more advanced literary analysis. In recent years the students have read Saint-Exupéry’s "Le Petit Prince" and Camus’s "L’Etranger," and have studied very closely François Truffaut’s film, "L’Argent de poche." Students will receive regular e-mail attachments consisting of about 500-750 words from these works and several study questions. They will be expected to return to the teacher thoughtful and carefully written answers in French by e-mail before the next class. Slightly lengthier journal assignments will also be used to refine the students’ writing skills throughout the year. Given the accelerated pace and increased difficulty of this class, students should expect to take, each quarter, two full-period grammar tests, one full-period literature test, and several vocabulary tests.

French IV: The Struggle for Identity (yearlong)

French IV: The Struggle for Identity

Prerequisite: French III

This yearlong course aims to provide students with the opportunity to consolidate the foundations acquired in levels I, II, and III through a diachronic, historical reflection of the evolution of French language and culture. The grammar, syntax, and conjugation content and skills to be covered are defined by careful assessment of students' individual needs and remediation. The main goal of the course is to improve students' ability to communicate in the target language while simultaneously exploring French literature, culture, and civilization from the 8th century to the present day. Students will develop their skills in the four areas—listening, reading, speaking, and writingin a demanding setting where immersion strategies and techniques will give them the opportunity to develop their proficiency towards an independent level of mastery.

French IV (Honors): Language and Culture (yearlong)

French IV (Honors): Language and Culture

Prerequisites: French III (Honors), departmental approval

The Honors French Language and Culture course is designed to develop intensively students' knowledge of French vocabulary, grammar, and culture at a level generally equivalent to a third year language course in college. Culture will be incorporated in the choice of material, discussions, and presentations. We will use authentic material to expand equally on all four skills: speaking (in group discussions, presentations, personal opinions, etc.), listening (using documentaries, news reports, songs, conversations), reading (with extracts from literature, articles, poems, songs), and writing (compositions and essays). We will also watch movies and use them to develop these skills and our knowledge of the culture.

French V: Language and Philosophy (two consecutive semesters)

French V: Language and Philosophy

Prerequisite: French IV

In this French and interdisciplinary course students will study short French texts, videos, and films that touch on many of the chief philosophical and literary themes studied in the Self and Virtue units of the Integrated Liberal Studies course. Authors, thinkers, and textual selections to be studied include: key passages from the French translation—"Si c’est un homme"—of Primo Levi's memoir; the short "Eloge de Socrate" by contemporary French philosopher Pierre Hadot; selections from "Genèse," "L’Exode," "L’Evangile de Matthieu," and "L’Epître aux Romains," from "L’Ancien Testament" and "Le Nouveau Testament"; several short tales from "L’Héptameron," the Renaissance Christian humanist classic by Marguerite de Navarre; two of "Les Essais" of Michel de Montaigne; selections from "Méditations métaphysiques" by René Descartes; several fragments from "Les Pensées" of Blaise Pascal; several of "Les Fables" by Jean de la Fontaine; selections from "Les Maximes" by La Rochefoucauld; "Micromégas" by Voltaire; the fifth "rêverie" from Rousseau's "Rêveries du promeneur solitaire"; selections from "La généalogie de la morale" by Friedrich Nietzsche; selections from "La Malaise dans la civilisation" by Sigmund Freud; selections from "L’immoraliste" by André Gide; the short essay "L’Existentialisme est un humanisme" by Jean-Paul Sartre. Louis Malle's film "Au revoir les enfants" will be studied in conjunction with Primo Levi.

In the second semester, students will read and view classics of French comedic literature and popular culture. Readings may include selections from the medieval "Farce de Maître Pathelin," Rabelais' "Gargantua," Molière's "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme," and Raymond Queneau’s "Zazie dans le métro"; the contemporary classic roman policier "Total Khéops" by Jean-Claude Izzo will also be read. Films may include the comedy "Les compères" with Pierre Richard and Gérard Dépardieu, as well as the crime thriller "Diva" directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix. All readings and film viewings will be studied both thematically and with the intent of advancing each student's command of all four skill areas in French. Course work will consist of manageable nightly readings, Schoology posts, in-class discussion, short essays, and presentations. 

French V (Honors): Immigration, Education, and Race (two consecutive semesters)

French V (Honors): Immigration, Education, and Race

Prerequisites: French IV (Honors), departmental approval

In this semester-long course based on the polemic of diversity, advanced students will explore current issues such as education (fall semester), and immigration and racism (spring semester), pertinent in our ever-changing world. This exploration will be done through analysis of French and francophone newspapers and magazine articles, movies and documentaries, and literary texts such as novels, short stories, poems and songs. Students will be well-informed of current world issues by examining French, francophone, and world news. The course is designed to allow students to increase their scope of French vocabulary as well as their knowledge of French and francophone cultures. Students will enhance and refine all four language skills:  speaking, listening, reading, and writing French.

Japanese I

Japanese I

An introduction to the Japanese language and culture. Students build basic reading and writing skills through mastery of hiragana and katakana phonetic alphabets and over 100 kanji (Chinese-derived characters). The "Genki" series textbook and workbook, along with supplemental materials, will introduce basic vocabulary and grammar principles needed to communicate in the classroom. Internet, videos, games, and field trips reinforce knowledge and interest. Progress is determined by weekly hiragana, katakana, and vocabulary quizzes; comprehensive tests at the end of each chapter; and a research project based on aspects of the culture and society. Students are required to actively participate during class time and effectively utilize homework assignments to reinforce their skills.

Japanese II

Japanese II

A continuation of Japanese I. Students continue to build reading and writing skills through the study of more complex sentence structures and learn to read and write 100 new kanji. Special emphasis is placed on basic verb forms to enhance communication skills. Students begin reading Japanese children's books and researching pre-assigned topics via the internet. Evaluation is based on daily homework assignments, weekly vocabulary and kanji quizzes, listening comprehension, and chapter tests at the completion of each chapter. Students are expected to actively use Japanese during each class as well as complete assignments independently using technology.

Japanese III

Japanese III

Continues the study of Japanese through thematic lessons presented in "Genki". Students are introduced to more advanced conversation, reading, and writing as they review basic grammar and vocabulary. In addition to daily homework assignments, chapter tests, and weekly vocabulary and kanji quizzes, students are assigned thematic projects at the end of each lesson that include internet-based research, creative skits, and PowerPoint presentations. Students communicate primarily in the target language to hone oral and aural skills.

Japanese IV

Japanese IV

Continuation of Japanese III. The course aims to further develop language skills—reading, writing, speaking, and listeningusing the "Genki" series textbook. Students will expand vocabulary and kanji base through newspaper articles, essays, and short stories. The emphasis will be on accurate communication in Japanese, and students will be required to use the target language exclusively.

Latin I

Latin I 

An introduction to the Latin language and to Roman civilization. "Ecce Romani" and supplemental materials introduce declensions, indicative verb forms, pronouns, and infinitives. Word roots, word formation, and derivatives are explored. Roman civilization is examined through a study of the city of Rome and through myths and history. Nightly homework may include reading, translation, composition, and exercises in textbook, workbook, or worksheets. Students are expected to use available internet material for practice and review. Students are given frequent (weekly or every-other-week) written assessments, quizzes (vocabulary and/or grammar), and half-period or full-period tests on single chapters or multi-chapter units. Class participation and homework completion also contribute to the course grade each quarter. A two-hour mid-year exam and a two-hour final exam are given.

Latin II

Latin II

A course that completes the introduction of grammar, including participles, and the subjunctive mood and its uses. With "Ecce Romani II," this course prepares the students to begin to read Latin literature. Nightly homework may include reading, translation, composition, and exercises in textbook, workbook, or worksheets. Students are expected to use available internet material for practice and review. Students are given frequent (weekly or every-other-week) written assessments, quizzes (vocabulary and/or grammar), and half-period or full-period tests on large chapters or multi-chapter units. Class participation and homework completion also contribute to the course grade each quarter. A two-hour mid-year exam and a two-hour final exam are given.

Latin III

Latin III 

Introductory readings of original Latin texts, focusing on Caesar and Ovid. Students review grammar and vocabulary in the texts. Apart from translation, students study figures of speech and rhetorical or poetic devices, considering as well some aspects of Roman history, government, and politics in the late Republic and the history and literature of the early Empire. Students are given nightly reading in primary (Latin) texts, with frequent worksheets. Approximately three period-long tests each quarter, a two-hour mid-year exam, and a two-hour final exam are given.

Latin IV

Latin IV 

Prerequisite: Latin III

Continues the study of Latin: selections from Vergil’s "Aeneid," the poetry of Catullus, and an oration of Cicero, with a consideration of both ancient and modern rhetoric. While emphasis still falls upon a solid foundation in grammar and vocabulary, students are also expected to recognize and discuss the literary merits of these authors. Students are given nightly reading in primary (Latin) texts, with frequent worksheets. No fewer than three period-long tests each quarter, a two-hour midyear exam, and a two-hour final exam are given.

Advanced Latin V/VI (Honors): Latin Letters (fall semester)

Advanced Latin V/VI (Honors): Latin Letters

Prerequisite: Latin IV or departmental approval

An advanced Latin prose reading course, with emphasis on fluency, an understanding of style, literary analysis, and cultural context. Students will read, at a minimum, letters by Cicero, Seneca, and Pliny, including the only first-hand account we have of the explosion of Mount Vesuvius in 70 CE. If time and interest permit, we may add Latin letters from later eras—by Erasmus, for example.

Advanced Latin V/VI (Honors): Latin Love Elegy (spring semester)

Advanced Latin V/VI (Honors): Latin Love Elegy

Prerequisite: Latin IV or departmental approval

An advanced Latin poetry reading course, with emphasis on fluency, an understanding of style, literary analysis, relationships between texts, and cultural context. We will explore love poetry in elegiac form by Catullus (a pioneer or precursor) and then Propertius, Tibullus, and Ovid, the three acknowledged masters of love elegy whose work survives today.

Spanish I

Spanish I 

This course covers language fundamentals equivalent to those completed in Spanish I-a and Spanish I-b combined. By the end of the year, skills in listening, speaking, vocabulary, grammar, and reading are sufficiently developed to enable students to enter second-level courses. Students study the present indicative tense in depth, including all irregular present-tense forms and the present progressive. They also build a solid foundation of vocabulary and the fundamental mechanics of sentence structure. Additional topics such as object pronouns, reflexive verbs, demonstratives, comparatives and superlatives, and "gustar" verbs are also covered. Both regular and irregular preterite forms are studied extensively. Grades are determined by several different evaluative methods such as full-period written tests with listening components, daily homework assignments, projects, and oral proficiency exams in the target language.

Spanish II

Spanish II

Spanish II is for students who have completed either the Spanish I-a and I-b sequence or Spanish I. The course includes a review of language fundamentals, usage of the preterite and imperfect tenses, and command forms, among other topics. Ongoing acquisition of new vocabulary is emphasized and extensively practiced. Grades are determined by several different evaluative methods such as full-period written tests with listening components, oral and written quizzes, daily homework assignments, projects and oral proficiency exams in the target language.

Spanish III

Spanish III 

Spanish III is for students who have previously taken Spanish II. Along with ongoing vocabulary acquisition, students dedicate much of the year to learning the subjunctive mood in its present- and past tense uses, as well as the future and conditional tenses. Grades are determined by several different evaluative methods such as full-period written tests with listening components, oral and written quizzes, daily homework assignments, projects, and oral proficiency exams in the target language.

Spanish II/III

Spanish II/III

Prerequisites: Completion of Spanish I, Ia, and Ib, or comparable coursework

Spanish II/III is an accelerated course that covers in one year the topics included in both Spanish II and Spanish III. Enrollment in this course is contingent upon departmental nomination and reserved for a very small group of students who have demonstrated exceptional adeptness in Spanish language acquisition.

Spanish IV

Spanish IV

Prerequisites: Spanish III, Spanish II/III, or demonstration of comparable proficiency

This course is primarily oriented toward revisiting previously studied topics to develop a more comprehensive understanding and greater mastery of those structures. However, some new structures are taught—such as the imperfect subjunctive, the perfect tenses, and compound "si" clausesin addition to the ongoing acquisition of new vocabulary. Students refine their understanding of previously studied topics and apply their language skills toward gaining and demonstrating deeper understanding of select cultural topics. Grading is based upon written exams, oral and written quizzes, active in-class participation, daily homework, essays, projects, and presentations.

Spanish IV (Honors)

Spanish IV (Honors)

Prerequisite: Departmental approval and completion of Spanish III or Spanish II/III

Spanish IV (Honors) looks to revisit previously studied topics to develop a more comprehensive understanding and greater mastery of those structures. Students work with these structures in their most complex manifestations and at a very rapid pace. In addition, greater emphasis is placed on gaining and demonstrating a deeper understanding of select cultural topics and on learning how to independently read, interpret, and analyze Hispanic cultural production. Students will be asked to make connections among diverse sources of information, demonstrate meaningful engagement with course material, exhibit intellectual curiosity and an ability to grasp abstract ideas, and explore language and culture through inference and interpretation. Students will also gain extensive practice in formal essay writing. These essays, along with written exams, quizzes, daily homework, active in-class participation, individual and group projects, and oral proficiency activities, will be used to evaluate student progress.

Spanish V

Spanish V

Prerequisite: Spanish IV

The course hones students' grammatical, oral, and listening skills. Significant time and effort is devoted to the subjunctive. Students read and discuss a variety of Spanish and Latin American cultural production, including news articles, novellas and short stories, film, and theater. These materials are discussed in relation to the following thematic topics: class and economy in historical perspectives; human rights; realism and abstraction in art; media and global communications. In each quarter, there are two full period tests and a minimum of five quizzes. Participation also plays a large role in each student's overall grade. Homework assignments are expected to be completed on a daily basis, and are reviewed at the beginning of each class.

Spanish V (Honors): Composition and Communication (Composición y oratoria)

Spanish V (Honors): Composition and Communication (Composición y oratoria)

Prerequisites: Spanish IV (Honors), and/or departmental approval

This course dedicates a full semester to the intensive development of written communication skills through various compositional modalities and detailed close reading of texts. The complementary semester focuses on the intensive development of oral communication skills through presentations, debates, theatrical scenes, interviews, and other modes of oral communication. Detailed attention is given to the  understanding and contextually-appropriate usage of advanced vocabulary, grammar, and cultural cues. Students in Spanish V (Honors) also continue to develop the cultural knowledge and critical thinking skills essential to advanced expression and analysis in Spanish. This course builds upon the high-intermediate language proficiency and introduction to literary and cultural analysis developed in Spanish IV (Honors), and prepares the student for the advanced, sustained discussion of particular cultural topic in the Spanish VI (Honors) elective courses.

Spanish VI: Hispanic Theater and Social Justice (Teatro hispano y justicia social) (fall semester)

Spanish VI: Hispanic Theater and Social Justice (Teatro hispano y justicia social)

Prerequisites: Spanish V or departmental approval

Students in this semester-long course will learn about Spanish and Latin American theater through the study of four renowned and acclaimed dramas. These plays were chosen for their historical and political influence in each of the countries they represent, and for the themes they all share that remain relevant across time and cultures: justice, truth, and the effects of violence. Students will engage with these texts both as literary and cultural analysts, and as actors who will perform selected scenes. Key areas of inquiry for this class include: what is social justice, and how is it shaped by cultural and historical factors? How can we approach political injustice and violence with empathy and cross-cultural understanding? How can these issues be appropriately represented to others? All discussion and assignments in this class will take place in Spanish, and students will be guided in improving their overall language proficiency as well as their critical understanding of the specific histories and cultures depicted in the studied plays.

Spanish VI: Modern Hispanic Poetry (Poesía hispana moderna) (fall semester)

Spanish VI: Modern Hispanic Poetry (Poesía hispana moderna)

Prerequisite: Spanish V or departmental approval

This semester-long course will focus on the study of different poetic styles. The 20th century was especially rich and complex for Hispanic poetry. We will study the history, movements and innovations of poetry made in Spain and Hispanic America and how those two worlds, separated by one ocean, often communicated with each other and guided social action through poetry. Along with the main narrative of Hispanic poetry, we will also look at other and different poetic voices the are less known in each movement. The historic component of the course will mix with our exploration of contemporary poetic expressions in the Spanish speaking world and the United States, as a means to analyze and compare heritage, identity, nationality, and gender perspectives. For this purpose, we will be visiting poetry and spoken word venues such as The Americas Poetry Festival of New York. Using the knowledge and experiences acquired with this elective, students will create their own personal poetry to show and share by the end of the course as a complement to their knowledge of Hispanic poetic traditions.

Spanish VI: Mexican Golden Age Cinema (Cine mexicano en la edad de oro) (spring semester)

Spanish VI: Mexican Golden Age Cinema (Cine Mexicano en la Edad de Oro)

Prerequisite: Spanish V or departmental approval

In this semester-long course, we will learn about the "Golden Age" of Mexican Cinema, from 1939 to 1952. During this time, Mexican cinema reached heights of production and creativity not seen again until the so-called "second Golden Age" in the early 2000s, dominated the Spanish-language film industry and staked a decisive claim within the burgeoning constellation of Hollywood mega-stars. In this course, students will gain knowledge as to how filmmakers of this period documented and commented upon Mexico's ideologies, history and societal structure through the study of selected films whose pervasive images have shaped and formed the Mexican identity or "mexicanidad."

In the material chosen, students will bear witness to the visual representation of rural Mexico in the early part of the twentieth century when the Mexican Revolution broke out, of urban Mexico in the 1930s when the demands of capitalism brought significant change to the cities, and the 1950s, when Mexico undertook great industrial and economic growth. A key area of inquiry for this class will be to study the various genres developed - which include romance, comedy, and ranchero musicals - and their attempts to build a cohesive cinematic vision of "mexicanidad" for the diverse populations within the still-developing nation of Mexico during this period.

Spanish VI: Hispanic Singer-Songwriters (Cantautores hispanoamericanos) (spring semester)

Spanish VI: Hispanic Singer-Songwriters (Cantautores Hispanoamericanos)

Prerequisite: Spanish V or departmental approval

This semester-long course will study the work of prominent Hispanic singer-songwriters during the 20th and 21st centuries. Along with the analysis of their artistic production in written and visual form, we will connect those expressions with the social and political instances in which they were created. Some of these artists worked in exile, others as part of significant political changes in their countries, some in major cities, others in the countryside. But all of them left a mark on the people who listened to their lyrics charged with metaphors and highly poetic images. The curriculum is designed to integrate cultural and grammatical aspects of the Spanish speaking world using music, video, and lyric analysis.

The course will have five units. Unit One will start with Latin America's situation at the beginning of the 20th century and the birth of "el bolero" as one of the most famous music styles. Unit Two will focus on "el tango" and its deep roots in South America. Unit Three will address musical intellectual protest with "la trova" and its repercussions along with the political and social movements of the 1960s. Unit Four will analyze songs and songwriters entering an interconnected global market at the beginning of the 21st century and the personal and creative challenges that this carries. Unit Five is an interdisciplinary project that includes the creation of a musical piece taking into account the content covered. (No prior musical experience is required for this class.)

Spanish VI: Design and Innovation for Global Issues in Latin America (Diseño e innovación para temas globales en América Latina) (yearlong)

Spanish VI: Design and Innovation for Global Issues in Latin America (Diseño e innovación para temas globales en América Latina)

Prerequisite: Spanish V or departmental approval. Note: This is an interdisciplinary course that is co-taught in the Maker Lab in Spanish.

This interdisciplinary course will allow students to develop their linguistic, creative, and entrepreneurial skills through hands-on art, design, and engineering projects. In the course you will improve your Spanish proficiency through experiential learning, collaborative work, case studies, brainstorming discussions, and project presentations. We will explore and practice innovation through design, using the language as both a cultural lens and for practical communication. We will research various design case studies from the Spanish-speaking world on the topics of environment and sustainability, technology and science, and global economy. After learning about specific issues in these areas, we will collaborate to create practical design solutions.

Spanish VI (Honors): Hispanic Cinema (Cine hispano) (fall and spring semesters)

Spanish VI (Honors): Hispanic Cinema (Cine hispano)

Prerequisites: Spanish V (Honors) and/or departmental approval

In this one-semester course, to be offered each semester of the academic year, students will study, analyze, and discuss a range of films from the Spanish-speaking world. Emphasis will be on the cultural, thematic, and linguistic aspects of the films, as well as on the cinematographic and stylistic choices made by the directors. Course work will consist of intensive oral and written analysis of the films and, as such, will both advance students' increasing mastery of Spanish language and knowledge of Hispanic culture, and offer an opportunity to do significant interdisciplinary study. This course ends with a final project consisting of original, short movies filmed by the students.

Spanish VI (Honors): Novelas Ejemplares

Spanish VI (Honors): Novelas ejemplares

Prerequisites: Spanish V (Honors) and/or departmental approval

In this course students will investigate the implicit dialogues between two of Spain's most masterful and influential Golden Age writers: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and María de Zayas y Sotomayor. Though best known as the author of Don Quijote, Cervantes also wrote a series of renowned novellas known as the "Novelas ejemplares" (1613), short stories that present Cervantes's subtle and often humorous critiques of prevalent social issues in 17th century Spain. María de Zayas y Sotomayor was Cervantes's contemporary and the most popular woman writer of Spain's Golden Age, best known for her own "Novelas amorosas y ejemplares" (1637). The style and subject matter of her novellas connect her writing to the "querelle des femmes," a literary debate on the nature and status of woman that began during the Renaissance, making her Spain's first early modern protofeminist. Cervantes, rather than demonizing women like many authors of his time tended to do, was generally considered sympathetic to the plight of women, and his stories delineated the complex moral and social implications of individual actions. Zayas's novellas reflect the influence of Cervantes's craftsmanship in form and content, but also challenge his attitude toward and treatment of women. This course will explore how Zayas and Cervantes handle similar fictional situations within the "exemplary novel" genre and how Zayas's reading of Cervantes invited her to respond to his paradigmatic novellas. AS in Cervantes's works, marriage, treatment of women, and cross-dressing dominate Zayas's stories. These themes and related social questions will be the focus of this course.

Language at Riverdale

"It amazes me how I relate so strongly to this archaic language. Sometimes I catch myself bursting out in laughter after deciphering a line of Latin. Catullus' sappy love poetry and Cicero's snarky political letters provide me with a daily dose of inspiration and joy. This 'irrelevant' language has offered me a glimpse into the humor, drama, and tragedy of the ancient Roman world all while propelling me through modern day life."

— Riverdale Upper School Student

Regards Francophones A New York, Riverdale

"Regards Francophones à New York, Riverdale" is a student-created interdisciplinary art and research project on the cultural presence of French speakers in our city. Read student accounts of what it's like to experience New York as a francophone.

Riverdale Country School

Mind • Character • Community

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Lower School
1 Spaulding Lane
Bronx, NY 10471
LS: (718) 549-7780

Middle/Upper School
5250 Fieldston Road
Bronx, NY 10471
MS/US: (718) 549-8810

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Riverdale teaches students to become lifelong learners by fostering "growth" mindsets. Go There ><

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The River Campus offers a spacious, natural setting for our youngest students, inspiring learning and play. Go There >

Riverdale offers "STEAM" (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) teaching to Lower School students. Go There >

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Middle School students explore hands-on learning through the Riverdale Maker program. Go There >

Project Knowmad allows Middle Schoolers to learn in a different way, using NYC as their classroom. Go There >

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Riverdale teaches students to make connections through our interdisciplinary programs. Go There >

The club and activity program encourages students to explore their passions and try new things. Go There >

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About 80 percent of Upper School students participate in athletics. Go There >

Riverdale's Hill Campus has an indoor pool, football stadium, weight room, and 3 playing fields. Go There >

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Approximately 20 percent of Riverdale students receive some level of financial aid. Go There >

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Have you included Riverdale in your estate plans? Please let us know and join our expanding group of Hackett Planned Giving Society members today. Go There >

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